Teaching kids to greet people politely is one of the first steps to instilling good manners in your children. It also sets a foundation for good communication skills in the future. Introduce greeting skills with your child with age-appropriate activities that will encourage her to practice greeting others regularly.
Greetings songs can help ease young children into greeting others on a regular babasis. You could teach your child to sing "Hello and How Are You," which goes, "hello, hello, hello and how are you? I'm fine, I'm fine, I hope that you are too." You can sing it to any tune or just turn it into a chant. Another greeting song includes a handshake. Sung to the tune of "Frere Jaques," the song goes, 'Hello Tommy, hello, Tommy. How are you? How are You? I'm glad you came to see me, glad you came to see me. Please shake my hand, please shake my hand." Practice waving hello and shaking hands as you sing the song with your child.
Practice and Roleplay
Help your child practice greeting people at home. Encourage her to have her dolls and teddy bears greet each other when she is playing with them. You can also practice with your child so she can learn how to properly greet adults. Teach your child to look at a person directly when greeting him. If your child is shy, make it a game by encouraging her to find out what color eyes the person has. Explain to her that standing up straight, smiling and saying hello shows respect and is polite. Play dress-up with your child and pretend to be different characters for her to greet. Speak in different silly voices to make it more entertaining.
Read books with your child about greeting others. For kids ages 4 and older, "Emily's Everyday Manners," by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning, includes a section on how to greet people in a kid-friendly manner. Another book by the same authors is for children ages 8and up: "Emily Post's The Guide to Good Manners for Kids" provides more detailed directions on greeting others as well as guidance on developing other important manners.
Your child might want to greet everyone she meets once she learns how to greet people, but it is especially important to teach her how to stay safe around strangers when you are not with her. Teach your child that when she is with you or another parent, it is okay to greet other adults, however, when she is not with you, teach her to move away and check first with the adult that she is with. If for some reason, your child is not with an adult and the stranger continues to approach her, teach her to run towards a crowd, yell as loud as she can and contact the nearest "safe" adult, such as a police officer, firefighter, or a family with kids.